Friday, May 17, 2019

Labour's National Grid plans hit pensioners

The Labour party has announced a ridiculous and unaffordable plan to nationalise the National Grid.

Nationalisation has been tried before and failed every time.

The company I work for used to be part of a nationalised industry. At the time it was sold to the public, it was still manufacturing and installing equipment which was two generations out of date.

The railways used to be a nationalised industry called British Rail - which had a worse safety record, a worse reliability record, put in far less investment and delivered a worse service. And today the part of the railways industry which has the worst problems is the part the Blair government re-nationalised.

Whether it was making cars, steel, energy or providing services, nationalised industries have a record of failure.

Labour's plans to nationalise the National Grid would mean more borrowing, higher bills and tax hikes for hardworking families.

Key facts:
  • Jeremy Corbyn’s ideological plan for the state to seize these companies would cost an eye-watering £100 billion and saddle taxpayers with their debts, meaning more borrowing, higher bills and tax hikes would be inevitable. 
  • The Labour plans yesterday wiped nearly £1 billion off the value of the National Grid. most of this cost will not be carried by rich people but ordinary pensioners and ordinary working people - most shares in these countries are not owned by individuals but by pension funds and investment trusts which look after the savings of today's pensioners and future ones.
  • Millions of pounds of that loss was wiped off the value of pension funds. 
  • And as is always the case with Labour there is no plan for how they would pay for this costly programme to take the national grid into state ownership.  

Why this matters

While Labour’s ideological renationalisation plans would hurt hardworking families, the Conservatives are taking practical steps to protect people from unfair bill rises and increasing renewable electricity to a record high.


Anonymous said...

When are you going to put the roads back in private hands?

Chris Whiteside said...

You can't put something which has never been in private ownership "back" in private hands.

Anyone except people on the fundamentalist ideological extremes supports some form of mixed economy in which some things are done by the market and others by the state.

Commercial manufacturing and service industries including Steel, Coal, shipbuilding, manufacture of vehicles and aircraft, construction, railways and telecommunications have a track record of being done far more efficiently and better by private industry than by the government. I would normally expect these things to be provided by the market.

Providing a public highway is one of the things I would expect to be done by the state.

I'm not proposing to privatise the Queen, the army, the courts or the police either, and I support an NHS in which the overwhelming majority of healthcare is free at the point of delivery and funded largely through general taxation.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Did Turnpikes and Toll roads not exist in Britain, the state certainly didn't build them, much like the canals and railways. It's time they were privatised so the users of them pay for them rather than be subsidised by the taxpayer.

Chris Whiteside said...

There have usually been a certain number of private roads and toll roads just as there are still a few unadopted roads and some toll roads today. The private sector had a role building and maintaining some roads in many eras in history just as it has today.

However we have never had a 100% private road network - many roads have always been "The King's Highway."

The majority of roads in this country have been run and maintained by the state, e.g. the national or local authorities going right back to Roman times.

Anonymous said...

Anyone could maintain the highways better than the clowns at Cumbria CC and the Highways Agency.

Chris Whiteside said...

I would not pretend to be satisfied with the present level of maintenance of our roads but if you want to help, point to a specific section of road that you think needs attention and I'll check it is on the list.

If you are not interested in helping and would rather sit on the sidelines casting stones, you would do so more effectively if you could get the name of the body which maintains the trunk roads in Cumbria right. (It hasn't been the Highways agency for four and a half years.)